BACKING CASINO: Senator Pauline Hanson with Tower Holdings CEO Terry Agnew on Yeppoon foreshore.
BACKING CASINO: Senator Pauline Hanson with Tower Holdings CEO Terry Agnew on Yeppoon foreshore. Trish Bowman

Casino dream for Great Keppel Island not dead yet

ONE person who was hanging on the Central Queensland election results more than others is Terry Agnew.

As the chair of Tower Holdings, Mr Agnew has said in the past that he "wasn't simply going to walk away" after investing 10 years of his life and $50m of his own money to gain the necessary approvals to see the construction of a resort take place on Great Keppel Island.

 

Tower Holdings Chairman and CEO Terry Agnew on Great Keppel Island.
Tower Holdings Chairman and CEO Terry Agnew on Great Keppel Island.

When approached by The Morning Bulletin today, Mr Agnew said it was "still too early to call" and it had been premature of Labor's Brittany Lauga to claim victory in Keppel.

Mr Agnew was prepared to wait another week for resolution regarding CQ's seats of Keppel and Rockhampton which he believed still hung in the balance.

Once there was certainty, he would comment further on the fate of GKI development.

 

Tower Holdings chair Terry Agnew.
Tower Holdings chair Terry Agnew. Allan Reinikka ROK081117ahanson9

The election result was particularly significant given the comments Mr Agnew made last month when he made it clear that his development wouldn't be able to proceed without foreign investors who were lured by the prospect of a casino licence.

"We've told Bill Ludwig, Brittany Lauga and the State Government that we only got approvals three years ago and we've tried since then and have been unable to get finance," Mr Agnew said.

"We've also said to them that if we were granted a casino licence, which we applied for, that we've got plenty of backers and investors to come on board should we obtain it."

CEO of Tower Holdings Anthony Aiossa said at the time that they understood community frustration.

 

Tower Holdings CEO Anthony Aiossa and chair Terry Agnew have been working to get the GKI redevelopment up and running for 10 years
Tower Holdings CEO Anthony Aiossa and chair Terry Agnew have been working to get the GKI redevelopment up and running for 10 years Trish Bowman

"We're even more frustrated and the only thing holding us up is inability to secure funding, but it's very difficult to finance due to state of economy but we're doing everything we can," Mr Aiossa said.

"Post-GFC and post-mining downturn it was significantly harder to attract investment.

"It's incredibly hard to get big investors to look at investing in Central Queensland, so they need an incentive like a casino."

Both Mr Aiossa and Mr Agnew had pinned their hopes on a change of state government with the LNP and One Nation parties offering tacit support for the issue of an integrated casino licence for the resort.

Mr Agnew was front and centre with One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson when she visited Yeppoon in her 'Battler Bus' rallying people to Tower Holding's need for the acquisition of a casino licence.

 

Pauline Hansen in Yeppoon with Keppel candidate Matt Loth and Tower Holdings' Terry Agnew.
Pauline Hansen in Yeppoon with Keppel candidate Matt Loth and Tower Holdings' Terry Agnew. Allan Reinikka ROK081117ahansen7

As the election results currently stand, Brittany Lauga's Labor government are favourites to claim Keppel with 43 per cent of the primary vote.

Her party was unsupportive of granting a casino licence to GKI, opting instead to provide a $25 million state grant to revitalise the island with power and water connections to the mainland, sewerage treatment, a public jetty and boat ramp as well as amenities for visitors, including public toilets.



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